UDOU on Pedring Lopez: A Visual Craftsman who defies the idea of what a Filipino film should look like in his latest film, MARIA.

While every film enthusiast is eagerly awaiting MARIA’s release on screen. UDOU took the time to get to know  the man behind the film – Director Pedring Lopez.
“Nilalang” being one of his most acclaimed works (with distribution spanning 13 territories), Director Pedring Lopez, is one of the first amongst many who aspires to push the Filipino filmmaking industry towards a wider audience.
From his early works to his aspirations and goals. UDOU took the time to dig in deeper to this man’s innate love for films and his brilliant craftsmanship.

Who is Director Pedring Lopez?

Known to have no formal film school training, Lopez is easily one of the top talents the Filipino film industry has.  Surprisingly thou, unknown to many, Lopez is a by-product of his own grit and passion. During his early adult years, Lopez eagerly dropped out of college to pursue his true calling. He went on to teach himself the inner workings of video editing until he eventually moved onto mastering special effects; one of the skills that brought about the creation of full-length films that garnered international accolades amongst filmmakers worldwide.  
One of the remaining truths that stands to this day is his love for action and horror (as a genre) that continues to propel him forward. Making him one of the proponents that aspire to push the envelope further against the stereotype that the Filipino film industry is encapsulated in.
A great addition to this is the fact that he, himself is a total movie “fanboy” which as one might say is of an unfair advantage amongst other creators as he always takes time to weigh in the pros and cons of filmmaking versus what the audience wants — giving an actual voice to those like him  who enjoy action flicks.

MARIA, a pivot to a whole new breed of Philippine action films

MARIA Film Scene in the armoury
One of the female-centred action films in the county, ‘Maria, stars Cristine Reyes in her first-ever action film. With the official trailer garnering over three million views and hundreds of thousands of shares on social media alone in a week’s time, the film is certainly breaking boundaries.
We could say that Lopez’s desire to level out the playing field (or at least come as close next to it) is a bit overarching—but with the recent spotlight shone by ‘Maria’, lesser popular genres (like action) takes center stage along with a lot of never before seen firsts in the industry.
This might actually pave the way for an untapped market of moviegoers from different walks of life to start seeing more than just your usual “hugot” films on big screen.  Very timely too as with the never-ending backlash (both good and bad) from the recently concluded films (like the viral review by Mr. Reuel Tan on ‘Alone/Together‘), it is agreeably high time for Filipinos to experience a film that is equally comparable to our Asian counterparts (Korea, Indonesia, China, and Japan).
Gone are the days where we put down our own locally produced films over highly publicized Hollywood films — today, Pedring Lopez along with the entire cast of ‘Maria’, brings us something we never thought was possible before.

On the film industry woes

Shot in 27 days with a budget of $ 1.2M USD, Pedring Lopez recounts how they overcame the usual pitfalls creators encounter during filming.
Giving a huge clap towards his production team, with a special mention towards his stunt/action director (who also worked on ‘Buy Bust’) Sonny Sison, as they gravitate towards bringing the stunt community and the action genre to a level that is acceptable worldwide.
“The Philippine film and action community has such a huge room to grow, we’re not saying that we will single-handedly bring it forward, but at least we will be the first ones to push the envelope and open up the gates for the international market to see that the Filipino filmmaking industry is evolving—
To bring Filipino made films outside our archipelago—to reach a wider audience is the ultimate goal; our film creators deserve it. There’s such a huge pool of talents here. Producers just need to recognize and trust in the vision that creators have — to take risks and to avoid boxing the community in only one story form. Filipinos deserve to see more local action, more talents and I think the country is ready for that—budget problems aside.”

On production, the cast & Cristine

Pedring Lopez expressed his thoughts on Cristine doing a tremendous job on set and in real life. He mentions the hard work that Cristine put into bringing Maria/Lily to life, mentioning even that this role is truly made for her.
With as little as three weeks to train her, Cristine emulated a near to perfect portrayal of an assassin turned rogue while she kept her motherly instinct intact — giving way for a deadly powerful female lead this country has ever known.
Pedring Lopez also shared how his choice of integrating Fil-Am talents like KC and Ivan is meant to up the game further on Pinoy bad guys. For him, it is as crucial as casting the lead. He hopes to bring the audience to not just enjoy a simple straight on revenge-plot film but also to see how bad guys have back stories and intricate personas too.
All these combined with the first Filipino ensemble sponsoring a majority of strong female characters, with well-rounded artists like Jennifer Lee and Guji Lorenzana, Maria is a huge step forward not only for Filipino filmmakers but also for the entire Philippine cinema.
Wrapping up, Lopez invites everyone to Maria’s opening dates starting on March 27 in theatres nationwide.  
Join us as we support our very own with a local film that shows us that we are getting there — that Filipino makers can actually achieve more if given the chance to break free from budget constraints.
‘Maria’ is a byproduct of integrity and quality as seen through the eyes of Pedring Lopez. May it be one of the many straight on revenge plots out there — we are nevertheless proud to note that Filipino creators & producers are gearing towards a whole new level of filmmaking.

Watch the full interview right here.

Are you excited to see the upcoming film ‘Maria’? Did our exclusive interview with Director Pedring Lopez entice you even more? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below! You can also send us a message on our Facebook or Twitter @UDoUPh.